Aurora Goes 1-2 at NCAA Baseball Regionals

Photo: UNWSP Athletics / Aurora went 1-2 at the NCAA Division III Baseball St. Paul (Minn.) Regional.
Photo: UNWSP Athletics / Aurora went 1-2 at the NCAA Division III Baseball St. Paul (Minn.) Regional.

Releases courtesy of Aurora University athletics communications

ROSEVILLE, Minn. --- Aurora University wrapped up its season with a 6-5 loss to Misericordia University Sunday at the NCAA Division III Baseball St. Paul (Minn.) Regional.

The Spartans (38-8) went 1-2 at the regional, falling to Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, 15-13, in Friday's opener. Aurora then avoided elimination with a 14-9 win over Trinity University of Texas on Saturday before being sidelined by Misericordia.


Saint Mary's (Minn.) 15, Aurora 13 (Box Score | Postgame Interview)
Runs and a lot of them were in store for the 2021 NCAA Division III St. Paul Regional contest between the No. 2 Aurora University Spartans and the No. 5 Saint Mary's University Cardinals. AU found themselves down 5-0 before erupting for 11 unanswered runs. Eventually, 28 runs would cross the plate in the game with AU falling a heartbreaker to Saint Mary's 15-13.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS -
- The Spartans loaded the bases in the bottom of the first inning with Corey VondraDylan White and Collin Meinert all being hit by pitches. But the Spartans left the bases loaded without scoring.
- SMU scored the games first run in the second with three singles.
- Six hits led to four runs from Saint Mary's in the third inning as AU called on the bullpen in relief of starter Nick Malmberg.
- As the Spartans have done all season, the offense responded immediately and in a big way in the bottom half of the inning.
- With one out, Dylan White doubled to start a stretch of nine consecutive Spartans to reach base on a hit, walk or hit by pitch. 
Collin Meinert followed the White double with a home run to left to put the Spartans on the scoreboard at 5-2. Jacob Ambuel doubled and scored on a Justin Sartori single. 
- After Paul Dobravec singled to score Josh Reinhardt with the fourth AU run, Corey Vondra stepped to the plate. 
- On a 1-1 pitch, Vondra unloaded on a ball that went well over the left center field fence for a grandslam and AU led 8-5.
- Following a quick 1-2-3 inning by Gutknecht, the Spartan bats went back to work in the fourth.
- It was Vondra again with the bases loaded, this time he tripled to deep center field, clearing the bases and AU led 11-5.
- Four walks and a hit by pitch hurt the Spartans in the fifth inning, allowing SMU to score five runs on just two hits.
Jacob Ambuel pushed the AU lead to 13-10 with a two-run home run to left in the bottom of the fifth.
- After a scoreless sixth, Saint Mary's took advantage of a two-out error to score one run but AU still led 13-11.
- In the eighth, the Spartans and reliever Nathan Smith appeared to get an inning ending double-play ball but the throw from second to first sailed wide with one run scoring on the play. The next batter singled and the game was tied 13-13 going to the bottom of the 8th.
- One out singles from Sartori and Bermeo had the AU offense going again. But a Paul Dobravec liner to center saw the Cardinal outfielder make a diving play that doubled up Sartori at second.
- Saint Mary's got a two-out two-run home run in the ninth to take the 15-13 lead.
- The Spartans were unable to get the bats going in the bottom of the ninth, losing 15-13.

SPARTAN LEADERS - 
HITTING
HITS: Justin Sartori (3), Corey Vondra and Jacob Ambuel (2)
RUNS: Ambuel (3), Collin MeinertSartori and Nico Bermeo (2)
RBI: Vondra (7), Meinert and Ambuel (2)
HOME RUN: VondraMeinert and Ambuel (1)
TRIPLE: Vondra (1)
DOUBLE: Jett WedekindDylan White and Ambuel (1)

PITCHING:
APPEARANCES (innings):
 Nick Malmberg (2.1), Seth Gutknecht (1.2), Alec Strupp (1.0), Skyler Yamamoto (2.0) and Nathan Smith (2.0)
DECISIONS: Smith (loss 3-2) 


Aurora 14, Trinity (Texas) 9 (BoxscorePostgame Interview)
The 2021 NCAA Division III St. Paul Regional has seen the No. 2 Aurora University Spartan offense explode for runs and lots of them. In AU's match-up with #1 Trinity University, Texas, the AU bats once again appeared and were aided by a five strong innings of relief work from freshman Jack Fisher as the Spartans were victorious 14-9. The win allowed the Spartans to advance and survive to play another day.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS
- The game was scoreless through the first two innings but in the third, Trinity scored three times on four hits including a two-run home run.
- AU answered right back with two of their own in the top of the fourth. Collin Meinert (hbp) and Jacob Ambuel (walk) reached to start the inning. Both would score in the inning and AU trailed 3-2.
- The bottom of the inning was not one AU was hoping for as Trinity scored four times on four hits with two home runs in the frame. The Spartans trained 7-2.
- As has been the M.O. of the Spartans all year, they answered right back. Corey Vondra remained red hot, leading off the inning with a blast to right field.
- An error, single, sacrifice line out and two doubles later, AU was within one at 7-6. Justin Sartori doubled to score Meinert and Nick Baldassano doubled to score Sartori.
- Freshman pitcher Jack Fisher came on in relief of starter Josh Reinhardt in the bottom of the fifth. Over the next four innings, Fisher kept Trinity off the scoreboard.
- With Fisher keeping the Trinity offense in check, the Spartan bats continued to make a lot of noise.
- Vondra singled with one out and scored to tie the game on a Dylan White single. A bases loaded double-play ended the Spartans threat in the sixth but the game was tied 7-7.
- In the seventh, Sartori and Baldassano singled to start the inning. With one out, Paul Dobravec walked to load the bases for Vondra. On the second pitch he saw of the at bat, Vondra crushed a long home run to left center field, his second grand slam in as many games in the regional and AU led 11-7.
Jett Wedekind followed with a triple down the right field line and after White walked, Meinert delivered. On the first pitch he saw, Meinert demolished a ball to straight away center field and AU now led 14-7.
- Trinity would score two runs in the ninth on their fourth home run of the game but Fisher and the Spartans were victorious, 14-9.

SPARTAN LEADERS - 
HITTING
HITS: Corey Vondra (4), Justin Sartori and Nick Baldassano (3)
RUNS: Vondra and Collin Meinert (3), Sartori and Jett Wedekind (2)
RBI'S: Vondra (5) and Meinert (3)
HOME RUN: Vondra (2) and Meinert (1)
TRIPLE: Wedekind (1)
DOUBLE: Jacob AmbuelSartori and Baldassano (1)

PITCHING:
APPEARANCES (innings):
 Josh Reinhardt (4.0) and Jack Fisher (5.0)
DECISIONS: Fisher (win 3-0) 


Misericordia 6, Aurora 5 (Box Score | Postgame Interviews)
The Aurora University Spartan baseball team had the 2021 season come to an end in the NCAA Division III St. Paul Regional, losing to Misericordia University 6-5. The Spartans trailed 6-2 going to the bottom of the ninth, falling just short as the final two outs were hard line outs with the tying run on second. AU tied a program record for wins on the season with 38 and their 38-8 overall record. 

GAME HIGHLIGHTS -
- The Spartans found themselves down 2-0 after the top of the first as a walk, error and two hits led to the two runs.
- AU had runners in scoring position in the first and fourth but were unable to drive in a run.
- In the fifth, Misericordia manufactured a run with a single, stolen base, sacrifice and suicide squeeze.
- In the bottom of the inning, Nico Bermeo led off with a double and two hitters later he would score on a single from Jett Wedekind.
- After five innings, AU trailed 3-1. AU freshman Sam Harvey came on in relief of senior starter Carter Turnquist to start the sixth.
- In the seventh, with two outs and a pitching change from Misericordia, Corey Vondra singled and moved to second when Wedekind was hit by a pitrch. Dylan White laced a single to right to score Vondra and AU was within one at 3-2.
- A two-out error in the top of the eighth was immediately followed by a two-run double to give Misericordia a 5-2 lead.
- AU made a call to the pen with one out and one on in the ninth and in came senior Nathan Smith. After a strikeout, Smith gave up a bloop single off the hands that fell in just out of the reach of the Spartan defense and AU trailed 6-2.
- In the Spartan half of the ninth, Bermeo led off with his second double of the game and with one out, Corey Vondra hit a long ball down the right field line. When the ball went off the foul pole, Vondra had his fourth home run of the regional and AU trailed 6-4. 
Jett Wedekind followed with a ground rule double and forced a Misericordia pitching change.
Dylan White welcomed the new arm with a double to right center to score Wedekind and AU had the winning run coming to the plate with one out.
-  Collin Meinert and Jacob Ambuel both lined out in their at bats.
- AU fell to Misericordia 6-5.

SPARTAN LEADERS - 
HITTING
HITS: Corey VondraJett WedekindDylan White and Nico Bermeo (2)
RUNS: Vondra and Bermeo (2) and Wedekind (1)
RBI: Vondra and White (2) and Wedekind (1)
HOME RUN: Vondra (1)
DOUBLE: Bermeo (2), WedekindWhite and Josh Reinhardt (1)

PITCHING:
APPEARANCES (innings):
 Carter Turnquist (5.0), Sam Harvey (3.1) and Nathan Smith (0.2)
DECISIONS: Turnquist (loss 4-2)